The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi ll, at the Kaduna State Economic Summit, has criticised the present administration’s economic model, saying it cannot work.
FG’s economic model can’t work, says Sanusi
Published April 6, 2017
Niyi Odebode, Eniola Akinkuotu and Godwin Isenyo
The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi ll, on Wednesday, faulted the present administration’s economic model, saying it would not work.
Sanusi, who spoke at the Kaduna State Economic Summit in Kaduna, the state capital, also berated northern leaders, saying the North-West and the North-East remained the poorest parts of the world.
The monarch, who spoke on the theme ‘Promoting investments in the midst of economic challenges’, said the North, as a region, constituted the highest of the nation’s population, but lacked the necessary indices for progress.
Sanusi, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said the Federal Government was borrowing unsustainably.
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He noted that currently, Nigeria was spending 66 per cent of its revenues to pay interests on debts, saying such a model would not work.
Sanusi stated, “The Federal Government of Nigeria is spending 66 per cent of its revenues on interests on debts, which means only 34 per cent of revenues is available for capital and recurrent expenditures.
“That model cannot work. If you look at the 2017 budget of the Federal Government, I sometimes wonder what Nigerian economists are doing? In the 2017 budget presented by the Federal Government, the amount earmarked for debt servicing is in excess of the entire non-oil revenue of the Federal Government, but that is not the problem. The problem is that it is a budget that is even going for more debts.”
“Growth can only come from investments. It cannot come from consumption. It cannot come from government balance sheet. It cannot come from borrowing because you cannot borrow unsustainably,” he said.
The monarch added, “We have governors; they go to China and spend one month on a tour and what do they come back with, MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) on debts.
“China will lend you $1.8bn to build light rail. This light rail will be done by the rail workers from China. The trains will come from China. The engines will come from China. The labour comes from China. The driver is Chinese.
“At the end of the day, what do you benefit from it? Your citizen will ride on a train and when you ride on a train, in northern Nigeria, in a state like Kano or Katsina, where are you going to? You are not going to an industrial estate to work. You are not going to school? You are not going to the farm. You borrow money from China to invest in trains so that your citizens can ride on them and go for weddings and naming ceremonies.”
He stated that the North-West and the North-East would have been the poorest in the world, if they were a nation.
Sanusi added, “We are living in denial. The North-West and the North-East, demographically, constitute the bulk of Nigeria’s population, but look at human development indices, look at the number of children out of school, look at adult literacy, look at maternal mortality, look at infant mortality, look at girl-child completion rate, look at income per capita, the North-East and the North-West Nigeria, are among the poorest parts of the world.
“As far back as 2000, I looked at the numbers, Borno and Yobe states, UNDP figures: Borno and Yobe states, if they were a country on their own, were poorer than Niger, Cameroon and Chad.
“Nobody saw this because we were looking at Nigeria as a country that averages the oil-rich Niger Delta, the industrial and commercial-rich Lagos, the commercially viable South-East, and you have an average.
“Break Nigeria into its component parts, and these parts of the country are among the poorest, if it were a country. And we do not realise we are in trouble.”